The two-day Autumn Festival organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department at the Pahalgam area of Anantnag came to a close on Sunday.
The festival was conducted with the objective of reviving the tourism sector which had been adversely affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nisar Ahmad, Director of Tourism in Kashmir said, “This festival was organized to revive our economy. For the last six months, people stayed at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We want Pahalgam to be revived as a go-to tourist destination and hope our products come to be known across the world.”
The festival included an exhibition of village crafts drawn from the adjoining village tapestry of cottage craft and handicrafts, cuisine, fruits, and other components of the village economy. About 20 stalls displaying traditional art, craft, and ethnic cuisine had been set up at the Pahalgam Club by various departments like Horticulture, Agriculture, Handicrafts, Handlooms, Tourism, Fisheries, Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering, and local social enterprises.
Javaid Malik, a local tour guide said that he was grateful that the tourism department organised this festival to attract tourists as his livelihood depended visitors from outside.
“I am grateful to the tourism department for organising this festival for these two days as my livelihood depends on tourism. I hope that more people come here in the near future to see how beautiful our district is,” Malik said.
The festival also included a special three-hour cultural and musical program that featured local artists and actors.
“For the last six months, there is no entertainment and no liveliness. People have victims of depression by staying in their homes due to COVID. Now that restrictions have decreased and people are able to come out, we feel like we are free birds who have been released from a cage,” said Ejaz Rah, a popular singer who came to perform at the festival.